When the new year approaches, it inspires us to both reflect and look ahead. At Pinnacle Gymnastics, we are kicking 2022 off with our new theme: Personal Best. For many of us, we can get caught up in comparisons, however, when you are only competing against yourself, you can focus in on specific and realistic goals for yourself!
Teaching Athletes to Reach for Their Personal Best
Each summer, our optional team athletes attend spin class at the Lenexa Recreation Center. I started this tradition years ago after falling in love with spin classes myself. What I love most about these classes is being able to track your progress.
Each class, our athletes are asked to put their very best effort forward for around 20 seconds. This is 20 seconds of all out speed and resistance to create the highest wattage output. Then, after giving it their all, athletes are asked to do better. To beat their previous output by pushing even harder.
When they first hear the challenge, they are shocked. How can I try harder if I just tried my very best? But, they participate anyway, and guess what happens? They beat their own record. Not because they weren't trying their hardest the first time, but because they have a little more than even they realized left in the tank.
This transformation is powerful. They understand that they have an unreached amount of potential that they can continue to improve upon. After going through the past two years just trying to keep our heads above the water, this year, we are going to do more. We are going to be challenging all of our athletes in each program to reach for their personal best.
Way to Challenge Athletes to Reach for Their Best
- Timed Challenges
- Maximum Number of Repetitions
- In a Row Challenges
- Measured Challenges (how high, how far, etc)
Challenging athletes is only one part of the equation, we as coaches and parents can also reach for our best. Behavior is contagious. When we begin expecting a little more from ourselves, those around us also step up their game. Below are ways that we will be encouraging our staff, students, and each other to be their very best version of themselves in 2022.
7 Ways to Reach Your Personal Best
- Know your plan - break down your tasks in manageable portions throughout your week and month. Having clear, attainable goals each day is going to keep you motivated to keep pushing forward. Give yourself some wiggle room and avoid over planning your days. Take it to the next level and schedule something just for you each day - try scheduling a work out, time to read, time to plan a vacation, or anything else that invigorates you.
- Be focused and engaged - find joy in what you are doing. Even the most mundane task can be fun when you add music, movement, or competition to it! Reward yourself at the end of challenging tasks to encourage yourself to do it again. So often we look to celebrate only the big victories and forget about the bread crumbs along the way.
- Use your time wisely - scrolling social media, re-checking your inbox, or trying to multitask often leaves us feeling unaccomplished at the end of the day. Frequently we struggle to complete our to-do list not because we don't have enough time, but because we aren't using it wisely. Staying on task accomplishing one thing at a time is the best use of our precious minutes. You might even finish in time to do something just for you!
- End your day on a positive note - regardless of the stresses in our day, it is important to finish the day by reflecting on the positives. Take a moment at the end of the day to reflect with a loved one, write in a journal, or participate in a guided meditation to remind your brain of the positive energy you felt that day.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate - we often keep our thoughts and struggles in our own minds allowing them to build into erupting volcanoes! Avoid the explosion by keeping the lines of communication open with co-workers, loved ones, and friends. Acknowledge mistakes in the moment and give yourself permission to move on. So often we are concerned about others' reactions when we could just have a conversation with them to get on the same page. If you find yourself struggling to communicate, know when to ask for help or consider counseling.
- Be a team player - we have never needed each other more than we doing during these unprecedented times. The whole world is short staffed, overworked, and struggling to keep up. Do your part to help others any way you can. Sub for a co-worker, bus your own dishes when you can, and give each other some grace!
- Be positive - positive energy is contagious. Unfortunately negative energy is also contagious! Approach each day with an optimistic outlook. Not all days are going to be full of sunshine and rainbows, but our reaction to our day and the things that occur is under our control. Use your mind to see the positive side of things in each day. "The less you respond to negative people, the more positive your life will become." - Paolo Coelho